I've spent a good chunk of the afternoon browsing through Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals, published in 2006 by the Food Network and Taunton Press.
I enjoy Robin Miller's show on the Food Network. While I have never wound up making one of her recipes, I've gained a lot of tips and strategies from watching the show.
This cookbook contains 200 recipes, advertised on the cover as "simple, delicious recipes to make mealtime easy." That's very true!
Here's what I liked about this book:
These are convenient meals without the use of convenience foods! Once in a while she calls for a canned ingredient, but I didn't see any recipes asking for boxed mixes (full of salt and sugar), jarred spaghetti sauce (again, the salt and sugar), or goopy condensed cream soup. This, by far, is the best part about the book.
Robin Miller's recipes depend on a planned menu. I'm all for that!
This book is LOADED with tips! There are storage tips, planning tips, prep tips, health tips, information about ingredients, easy variations, and more. Even if you don't make the recipes, read this book for the tips! And pages 2 through 11 are fully-packed with information that anyone can use with any recipe. It's totally worth reading.
The directions are clear and easy to follow. Cook times are broken down into prep time, active cooking time, and walk-away time.
Directions also come with suggestions for where you can "stop" in a recipe and store the food in the fridge or freezer for finishing and eating later.
The recipes are often healthy-but-flavorful twists on old favorites (such as cacciatore, fra diavolo, lo mein).
Here's what I didn't like:
I think I'd go broke buying all the ziplock bags she uses....how about using some reusable containers instead? Is Ziplock her sponsor?
The recipes were heavy on Thai, curry, and cilantro--3 flavors that are not popular with anyone in my family. We're not picky; in fact, I'd say my kids are fairly adventurous eaters, but we don't care for that kind of food.
All the text in the book is green and brown. It's kind of pretty, but I find it hard on the eyes. She tells stories about the recipe in green, and gives the information in brown. I'd prefer just using italics to set apart the story and keep all the text black.
Most of the pictures in the book were Robin Miller. Sometimes we see her with a pot, pan or knife in her hand. Sometimes we just see Robin Miller. I want to see the FOOD! Make me drool! Make me want to cook this recipe tonight so we can eat it! There's a color-photo section in the middle of the book, but I like to see a photo next to the recipe, not go hunting for it.
Love the stories, hate the bad jokes. And it gets a little old, hearing about how "crazy" her life is every day. Yes, that's the premise of the technique, but enough already.
I think it's safe to say that the things I didn't like were generally minor things, and not something that would put me off from the book.
All told, I'd give this book a B+.
**This is an unsolicited review. As a matter of fact, the book is a library book; I was not given a free copy and I have not yet purchased a copy. So there's nothing in it for me for sharing my opinion here.